Sunday, November 29, 2020

Man City morning headlines as fans react to Mahrez masterclass and Lionel Messi links reemerge

Man City morning headlines as fans react to Mahrez masterclass and Lionel Messi links reemerge

Here are the Man City morning headlines for Tuesday, November 17.

Everything Messi and Guardiola have said about their future amid City links

For two weeks over the summer, the unthinkable prospect of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona appeared to be on the cards, with the Argentinian making his intention to leave clear.

City were the favourites to land his signature, but he ended up staying at the Camp Nou due to his reticence to fight a bitter contract dispute with the club at which he’s made 741 appearances, scoring 640 goals.

“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” he revealed in a tell-all interview over the summer.

But he could be free to leave next summer if he wishes, which has prompted fresh talk of him joining City and linking up with his former manager Pep Guardiola, who faces an uncertain future himself as his current deal at The Etihad runs out in 2021.

Here are the most interesting quotes from both Messi and Guardiola in full.

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The clean sheets stat that will concern Pep Guardiola

Manchester City topped the table for clean sheets last season, with 17 in the Premier League, but Guardiola’s side have only managed two from their seven outings so far this season. Aston Villa, Wolves and Southampton have all kept twice as many.

However, the underlying numbers ought to offer encouragement, writes David Alexander Hughes.

City have conceded the fewest goals in the division with a total of nine, while their combined Expected Goals Against (xGA) total of 8.5 is the fourth-best in the division. Only Brighton have faced fewer shots than City’s total of 56, too.

Meanwhile, five of the nine goals shipped, and 2.6 of the overall xGA came in the freak 5-2 defeat to Leicester – which has been something of an outlier when it’s come to City’s performances, especially defensively, so far in 2020/21.

Here’s the full piece.

The Riyad Mahrez moment that will inspire hope for City fans

Man City forward Riyad Mahrez has continued to shine whilst away on international duty.

The Algeria international scored and assisted in a 3-1 win over Zimbabwe last week, before scoring a sensational strike in the return fixture yesterday, a 2-2 draw.

Manchester City players are now on international duty after taking on Liverpool in the biggest match of the season so far.

The visitors went ahead early through Mo Salah’s penalty, but Gabriel Jesus’ sublime turn and finish brought City level. Kevin De Bruyne’s missed penalty could have given City the three points, but the match ended in a high-quality 1-1 draw.

City have a two-week break with many of their stars heading off to play for their countries – we’ll be keeping tabs on how they all perform, and on preparations for their next Premier League match at Tottenham.

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The results keep the Desert Foxes in a commanding position in their African Cup of Nations qualifying group, with Mahrez continuing as their talisman.

Mahrez was recently left out as City took on Liverpool, having not scored or assisted in his last eight appearances for the club, but there’s hope he’ll return full of confidence.

We’ve collected some of the best responses from City fans, who loved the technique and skill demonstrated in his latest goal, turning the opposition defenders inside and out before striking home.

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